Singer Aretha Franklin’s astonishing voice was a gift to American music, but the Queen of Soul was also known for her bold style moves. During her more than five decades in the spotlight, the Detroit native, who died last month at age 76, wore her signature looks with fierce independence and aplomb.
Although they weren’t always (fashion) hits, Franklin’s looks were legendary. (Who can forget the gray hat with the huge bow and Swarovski crystal detailing she wore for former President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009?) So, rock steady this fall with fashionable pieces that pay homage to the looks of Franklin, who once called Los Angeles home.
Franklin loved her pearls and often wore them on stage and off. Pay tribute to the singer with Rosantica’s Pegaso five-strand, natural-colored freshwater pearl necklace handcrafted by artisans in Italian designer Michela Panero’s Milan workshop. $700. Available at www.neimanmarcus.com.
Franklin’s penchant for statement earrings was part of her style story. Up your jewelry game with Jennifer Behr’s gold-tone floral post, drop-hoop silhouette door-knocker Cercle earrings. $170. Available at www.modaoperandi.com.
Franklin often opted for over-the-top fashion choices such as her colorful feather-covered numbers. Dip your toe into wearing eye-catching things with 16Arlington’s black crepe sleeveless top, which is trimmed at the hem with South African black-dyed turkey and ostrich feathers. $510. Available at www.net-a-porter.com.
Not one to make demure onstage statements, Franklin regularly wore strapless or sleeveless brightly colored gowns for her performances. Make a statement with Rosie Assoulin’s vivid orange silk-gazar gown with a turquoise silk-satin neck bow. $4,455. Available at www.net-a-porter.com.
At former President Obama’s first inauguration, Franklin’s massive gray hat with the enormous bow quickly became her most recognizable (and social media-worthy) fashion statement. Here’s a mini homage to the Queen of Soul’s hat: A handmade cotton gray stretch headband, which ties in front with an oversized bow. $70. www.modaoperandi.com.
According to news reports, gold-sequined heels covered Franklin’s feet during her funeral. In a fitting footwear tribute, consider Miu Miu’s mary jane pumps covered in gold sequins (with a tall tapered heel) as you cruise on the freeway of love — in your pink Cadillac, of course. $850. Available at shop.nordstrom.com.
Substantial head wraps and turbans were another signature Franklin fashion move. Check out Julia Clancey’s Edith red-and-pink silk charmeuse oversized front-knotted turban. $450. Available at www.modaoperandi.com. (Other L.A.-made styles are available at www.juliaclancey.com.)
The soul singer’s love of ethnic and tribal prints in the 1960s and ’70s helped usher them into mainstream fashion. Take a look at Etro’s retro-inspired orange wool-jacquard cardigan with dropped shoulders, long sleeves, a belted waist and colorful fringed edges. $1,240. Available at www.etro.com.
The Queen of Soul wore her diamonds well, particularly favoring rings. Get your hands on this diva-sized 18-karat white-gold and diamond crown diadem ring from Los Angeles designer Cynthia Bach. $10,600. Available at Neiman Marcus, 9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 550-5900.
Franklin had a deep love for fur coats. Instead of real fur, why not add Givenchy’s bi-color black-and-hazelnut short faux-fur coat with a quilted black lining to your fall and winter wardrobe? $3,450. Available at www.givenchy.com.
Franklin enjoyed wearing clothes covered in animal prints, and so should you. Giambattista Valli’s brown-and-black, calf hair and leather leopard-print pump has a pointed toe with a colorful pompom detail and a stiletto heel trimmed in feathers. $1,139. Available www.farfetch.com.
Franklin’s adoration of designer handbags was well known. Her bag appeared to stay with her at all times while she was in public, including on stage when she performed — and where it was often stuffed with a cash payment. (Louis Vuitton and Chanel were considered to her go-to favorites.) Mix designer and retro with this Louis Vuitton Dalmatian handbag from Farfetch’s vintage collection. $8,390. Available at www.farfetch.com.
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